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Appie van Wyk
Painting by Appie van Wyk

Ben-Erik van Wyk

Ben-Erik van Wyk - I need a better photo

Author of botanical publications
Professor of Botany at the University of Johannesburg

Ben-Erik van Wyk was born on 27 December 1956 in Bellville. His parents were the artists, Elise Bodley van Wyk and Abraham Jacobus (Appie) van Wyk. After matriculation in Calvinia, he studied forestry and nature conservation at Stellenbosch University (1976-1979) and completed a M.Sc. degree in Botany at Stellenbosch University (1983) and a Ph.D. at the University of Cape Town (1989).
He is lecturing Botany at the University of Johannesburg since 1984 (Professor since 1990).
He specialises in plant taxonomy (the naming and classification of plants); as well as ethnobotany and medicinal plants.
He is chairman of the Aloe Council of South Africa and of the Indigenous Plant Use Forum (national scientific forum) and a member of Briza Publications CC (publishers of botanical books)

Ben-Erik is married to Mariana van Wyk (a professional botanist) and has a son, Teodor, and a daughter, Signe. In addition to botany, plant photography and gardening, other favourite hobbies include surf angling, wine tasting and travelling.

Awards include: the Schlich Medal in 1980, the FRD President's Award in 1991, a research grant from the Innovation Fund for R3 mil. (2004-2006), the 2006 Havenga prize for Biology from the South African Academy of Science and Arts and the SAAB Silver Medal from the South African Association of Botanists (2007)


Author or co-author of 15 books, 15 book chapters, some 220 research papers in scientific journals, about 260 lectures at conferences, 71 new species, 9 new genera and 66 new name combinations

A synopsis of the genus Lotononis (Fabaceae: Crotalarieae). Contributions from the Bolus Herbarium 14.1991
Guide to the aloes of South Africa (with GF Smith), Briza Publications, 1996 (Revised edition 2004, reprinted 2005)
Medicinal Plants of South Africa (with Bosch van Oudtshoorn & Nigel Gericke), Briza Publications, 1997 (Last revised and expanded edition 2009).
Mesembs of the World: Illustrated guide to a remarkable succulent plant family (with GF Smith, P Chesselet, E van Jaarsveld, H Hartmann, S Hammer, P Burgoyne, C Klak & H Kurzweil), Briza, 1998
People's Plants: a guide to useful plants of southern Africa (with Nigel Gericke), Briza, 2000 (Reprinted 2002, 2005) Hardcover
Succulents of South Africa: a guide to regional diversity (with E van Jaarsveld & GF Smith), Tafelberg, 2000
(Also in Afrikaans: Vetplante van Suid- Afrika: 'n gids tot die streekverskeidenheid)
Photo Guide to Trees of Southern Africa / Fotogids Tot Bome Van Suider-Afrika (with Braam van Wyk & Piet van Wyk), Briza, 2000 (Revised edition 2008)
Poisonous Plants of South Africa (with Fanie R van Heerden & Ben van Oudtshoorn), Briza , 2002 (Reprinted 2005)
Medicinal Plants of the World (with Michael Wink), Briza, 2004 (reprinted 2004, 2005) Hardcover
Also in German: Handbuch der Arzneipflanzen (with C Wink & M Wink), Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft, 2004 (reprinted 2004). Polish and Korean translations in 2007
Food Plants of the World, Briza, 2005 Hardcover
Also in German: Handbuch der Nahrungspflanzen. Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft, 2005
Guide to Garden Succulents (with GF Smith). Co-production: Briza Publications, Pretoria (ISBN 978-187-5093670) and Timber Press (USA). ISBN-13: 978-0- 88192-954-6, 2008
Muthi and Myths from the African Bush / Muti En Mites Uit Afrika (with Heather Dugmore), Briza, Marula Books, 2008
Mind-Altering and Poisonous Plants of the World (with Michael Wink) Hardcover. Co- production: Briza Publications; Medpharm Publishers, Germany; Timber Press, USA, 2008
Cut Flowers of the World (with Johannes Maree), Briza Publications, 2010
The Garden Succulents Primer (with Gideon F. Smith), Timber Press, Hardcover


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